The Wilderness Scouts and Princesses are an American family tradition that dates back to 1925 (though we are not affiliated with the Boy or Girl Scouts, or the YMCA.) For generations of Park Ridge families and families from the surrounding communities, we have been a low-cost, highly engaging way for Fathers to connect with their sons and daughters, stressing relationship building, community service, a respect for nature and offering a lifetime of memories. We respect and honor the past and present legacy of Native Americans and strive to embrace their strong sense of family, community and tradition.
Our Park Ridge Wilderness Scouts Federation is divided into three nations (two Wilderness Princess Nations for dads and daughters, one Wilderness Scouts Nation for fathers and sons), consisting of a total 16 tribes. With 10 Princess tribes for the girls and 6 Scouts tribes for boys, we’re able to accommodate more members and provide a greater range of flexible meeting times to make it easy and fun to join.
Once you join Wilderness Scouts or Wilderness Princesses, your tribe will meet once a month on an evening after school and work, typically for about two hours
What happens at our meetings?
During a meeting, father/child activities typically include a craft, sharing of a positive thought or experience with the rest of the tribe around the ceremonial tribal drum, nation event updates and friendly socializing between children and fathers.
Each tribe will typically also conduct a monthly outing. These are often small excursions for tribe members that chose to participate, usually held within the Park Ridge/North Suburban area and last 2-3 hours. These activities present another opportunity for memory making and connection between father and child. Examples include tours of local businesses, visits to museums and places of community interest, recreation at parks, skating rinks, etc. or community service-based activities.
Meeting and Outing Participation
Each father/child is responsible for organizing either a monthly meeting or activity during the PRWSWP season in the month of your choosing. If your tribe is large, a family may partner with another father/child in running that meeting or activity! Crafts and outings are never the same each month; this encourages a wide range of father/child participation and experiences. Participation in the Wilderness Scouts and Princess meetings and outings is voluntary, but strongly encouraged – you’ll get out of the experience together what you put into it.
Are there awards or recognition for participation?
There is a variety of awards issued individually and to entire tribes. These are based on meeting attendance, meeting invitations, crafts, outings, friendly tribal games and other contributions. Awards are typically commemorative patches for you and your child’s tribal vest, tokens for your child’s necklace and other items of recognition. Certainly, the emphasis of PRWSWP is on father/child relationships, the most valuable award is the shared experiences and memories between father and child.
Camping and Community Activities
One of the most storied and celebrated parts of the Wilderness Scouts and Princess year are our three seasonal campouts. Fall, winter and spring – there are three overnight weekend campouts each year, typically lasting from Noon on Saturday through Sunday morning.
Campouts vary with each tribe and nation but generally consist of two types of venues:
- Outdoor recreational camps within 1-2 hour drive time of Park Ridge, usually in southern Wisconsin. Tribes gather as a nation to enjoy authentic camping fun! Each tribe is assigned its own cabins as overnight accommodations. Depending upon the season and the camp, activities include archery, evening bonfire, boating/canoeing, climbing, hiking, fishing, sledding, snowboarding and friendly game competitions between tribes.
- Indoor water park resorts within 1-2 hour drive time of Park Ridge. Tribes gather individually or as a nation to enjoy aquatic recreation in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere with overnight accommodations in an adjoining hotel!
Annual Christmas Tree Sale
Each year, PRWSWP conducts a Christmas Tree Sale during the holiday season. It is located at the Park Ridge Recreational Center. Each tribe is assigned a weekday evening or weekend afternoon/evening time to staff the sale. Each father and child supports roughly a two-hour shift along with several other members of their tribe. It is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit, be part of a longstanding Park Ridge tradition and most of all, to help support the community. All proceeds are donated to local charities and other non-profit organizations.
Memorial Day Parade
All tribes and members are welcome to march in the Park Ridge Memorial Day parade! Father and child share an incredible experience as they participate in this annual community event.
The Wilderness Scouts and Wilderness Princesses have become a strong proponent of community service activities. For example, for the last few years, we have conducted a Food Drive for the local food pantries as well as helping to clean the area’s forest preserves. Father and child can participate in variety of events and can enjoy their shared accomplishments of helping others.
Joining Wilderness Scouts
There’s a big world outside the door to your house, and life moves pretty fast – if you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it. The time to make memories with your son or daughter is now.
Joining the Park Ridge Wilderness Scouts and Wilderness Princesses is a great way to ensure you’ll put things in perspective and set aside a couple of times a month to spend with your child in a constructive and enjoyable environment.
It’s also a great way to share in a number of fun and exciting activities both you and your child may not have the opportunity to enjoy otherwise! It’s a chance for father and child alike to establish solid friendships for your daughter or son –and even yourself! If nothing else, it’s a great way to get out of the house, leave the television and video games and other preoccupations behind, to make better use of the precious time you in this life to spend with your child having fun and making memories to last a lifetime.
Be part of an organization that focuses on you and your child first; while playing an important role in establishing a sense of community for you and your family!
The Wilderness Scout Season runs September to May or June (depending on when your Nation enjoys its Spring campout) and you’re welcome to join at any time, with most families signing up to be a part of our group in the fall during “Back to School” time.
Do I need to know someone in PRWSWP before I join?
You do not need to know anyone in PRWSWP prior to joining! You are welcome to sign up with any tribe you may already know someone in. If you are unsure of which tribe to join, we will help you choose one with meeting times which meet your requirements and best fit your schedule. PRWSWP is accommodating to your daily/weekly family and work routines so father/child time is relaxed and undistracted.
Are there tribes assigned to certain schools?
Most tribes have members from several different schools, including parochial, private and public institutions. It is a great way to meet others from around the community.
Is it expensive to join?
Belonging to Wilderness Scouts and Princesses is very affordable! There is an annual membership fee and the initial purchase of tribal vests for you and your child. Fees for activities and outings are nominal. Child/group/student discount rates usually apply to PRWSWP members attending tribal/nation tours, visits and events.
Once you’re registered, your Wilderness Scouts or Wilderness Princess year will get off to a fast start, with an official Induction Ceremony, first meetings and typically your first campout all happening within September of that year.
For more information on joining Park Ridge Wilderness Scouts or Wilderness Princesses, contact us with questions or go ahead and register with us here on the site.
The Seven Aims of the Wilderness Scouts and Princesses
To be together forever as father and daughter/father and son
To bring honor to and to increase the love within my family
To keep an open and truthful mind
To want less and give more
To listen as others speak
To treat others as I would like to be treated
To protect all in nature for ourselves and all who come after